Catching Up With Jack

By Rich LernerMay 28, 2008, 4:00 pm
Rich Lerner recently sat down with Jack Nicklaus to discuss a variety of subjects, including Tigers pursuit of his major championship record and his own Memorial Tournament.
Rich: What was your goal when you built Muirfield Village in 1974?
Jack: I wanted to bring golf back to Columbus (Ohio). Columbus is where I grew up, the town that gave me the support and Scioto was my home course. I was 26 years old when I started assembling the property, 32 when we started building it and 34 when we opened it. It was the first course built for tournament golf with a gallery in mind. I also felt like we needed a theme for the tournament and so we came up with an idea of honoring the greats of the past.
Rich: The first honoree in 1976 was Bobby Jones, your boyhood hero. What were the characteristics you admired in Jones?
Jack: Golf was important but it wasnt the most important thing in his life. He was a family man, an attorney and he gave back to the game with Augusta National. All I heard about when I was a kid was Bobby Jones. He won The U.S. Open at Scioto in 1926. Obviously I wasnt around but there were a lot of members of Scioto that were there and when I was growing up I always heard that Jones did this and Jones did that, so I had always heard about Bobby Jones.
Rich: You honored this year the great Tony Jacklin. Thats awfully nice of you considering he came here to Muirfield Village as the captain of the European Ryder Cup team and beat the U.S. team which you captained!
Jack: Well Tonys been a great friend for a long time and we go back a long ways. Ill never forget the 18th hole and we lost it or tied it every time. It just killed us. When they asked how it felt to become the first American captain to lose on U.S. soil I said Id rather have it be me than someone else because I think I can handle it.
Rich: You did not increase the tournament purse this year. Why?
Jack: I felt like in Ohio people are struggling. The economy is a big issue. I didnt want to be taking more money out of the town at this time. I didnt think it was right.
Rich: Early on you polled the membership here asking for their favorite holes. What did you find out?
Jack: I got 14 different answers, 14 favorite holes and I thought thats pretty good but it showed me I had four holes to work on! People ask me what the signature hole is and to me it should be 18 signature holes.
Rich: Do you feel the golf course has gotten the credit it deserves?
Jack: Its gotten its due but I do think its a better golf course than people think it is. People that come here and play love it. The course is in magnificent condition and youd be hard pressed to find better shot value anywhere.
Rich: Why the furrowed bunkers?
Jack: I always felt bunkers should be a penalty. It got so that guys were aiming for bunkers. If you were going to miss a green you didnt want to be in six inches of rough, you wanted to be in a bunker. Im not trying to make it so they cant play. But if youre hitting a tee shot you should be at least thinking that you might get a bad lie in that fairway bunker. You might get a good lie but you might not. Around the greens it wont pose a problem. But the fairway bunkers should force you to think strategically.
Rich: Roger Maltbie won the first Memorial at 1 over in 1976. K.J. Choi won last year at 17 under. You seem reasonably comfortable with scores between 12 and 15 under. Whats your philosophy?
Jack: Equipment has changed the game. Thats okay. I dont mind the low scores. I just dont want to eliminate the strategy. For example at the 10th hole they can carry the bunker but its a 310-yard carry and the same at 13. At 18 the bunkers are out at over 300 yards. When we first did the golf course the bunkers were 265-270, so weve adjusted to modern golf. If they can play a good golf shot I think they should be rewarded.
Rich: In your prime with todays technology how far do you think you would have hit the golf ball?
Jack: Probably as far as the longest hitters today. I won The PGA driving contest in 1963 with a wooden driver. It was a normal day and I hit it 341 yards. To me, though, driving in my day was different. When you needed a long drive you went ahead and hit it. Most of the time, you played for position. You played strategically. Today, a lot of the long hitters just eliminate the strategy of the golf course. Thats what I dont care for.
Rich: Who had stiffer competition, you or Tiger?
Jack: I think there are more good players today. But fewer players win. Competition at Tigers level should come from people who have a history of winning. Thats what I had. I had fewer good players but the good players I competed against knew how to win when you look at Player with nine majors, Watson with eight, Arnold with seven and Lee with six. Tiger faces more good players but I had a few who better knew how to win.
Rich: Your era had one of kind players like Palmer and Floyd and Trevino with swings you cant really teach. Is there something about the players of your era that set them apart from the youngsters today who come out of these academies trained at the foot of a guru?
Jack: Arnold was taught by his father. Trevino taught himself. Floyd was taught by his father. We didnt go to nationally known gurus. Jack Grout worked with me from the time I was 10 years old and he never set foot on the practice tee of a golf tournament while I was playing. Grout taught me how to teach myself and that was important. When Stewart Maiden taught Jones how to correct himself on the course thats when he became a good player. Grout taught me from day one how to fix my problems. Sure Id go back two or three times a year and see Jack for an hour and then Id go work on it by myself. Guys today spend hours and hours with their teachers. Im not suggesting its wrong to see a teacher but I do think theyd be better players if they took more responsibility for their own golf games. What really drives me crazy these days is the average golfers over reliance on caddies. Nobody ever plays their own golf shots! Theyre robots. To me the fun of the game was to be able to pick your own line, your own shot and your own club and make your own decisions. That to me makes you a better player. Tiger does that. He may have a great caddie in Steve Williams but I promise you that Tiger would have exactly the same record if Steve Williams were still in New Zealand.
Rich: How are you and Tiger alike?
Jack: I think that were pretty similar in our approach to the game. Tiger practices a lot like I did, he prepares a lot like I did and he dissects a golf course a lot like I did. If you look at what he did at Hoylake, he kept his driver in the bag. Thats what I did at Muirfield. He plays about the same number of tournaments that I played. He played events that would best prepare him for majors. Thats what I did. I think hes very intelligent about what he does in preparing.
Rich: How do you think you and Tiger are different?
Jack: I think Tiger has a much better short game. I think I was a better driver at least from an accuracy standpoint. In terms of length, were probably about the same.
Rich: Are players intimidated by Tiger?
Jack: I think they are but they shouldnt be. They cant control Tiger. The only person they control is themselves. Thats the whole essence of the game. Thats why I gravitated towards golf because I could control my own destiny. I cant control someone elses. I loved that. I loved to be able to come down the stretch doing what you think is the right thing. Sometimes you get beat and sometimes you win. In Tigers case, he may not break my record because he doesnt have anyone pushing him other than my record. If Phil wins a couple more majors I think that will inspire Tiger to play better. Tiger wants the competition and relishes it and I think hell be better when he has it.
Rich: When was the first time you became aware of Jones major championship record of 13?
Jack: I never really counted majors. I walked into the press room at the British Open in 1970 and the writer Bob Green said, Jack thats 10 majors, three more and you catch Jones. I promise you I had never counted. Its the absolute truth. All I did was play golf. It became a goal then and I passed Jones record in 1973 and then went back to what I was doing, which was playing and trying to win majors because I enjoyed the setups and I enjoyed winning them. But it was never a number. Now Tigers been focused since day one because hes had my 18 majors sitting on his closet door so when he wins one theyll say he needs 17 more! Hes been under a microscope since day one and I think hes handled it beautifully. Hes been inspired by the number and I suspect hell pass it in three or four years. At that time, well find out if he wants to go beyond it. Im very proud of my record. Could it have been better? Probably, but am I unhappy that its not? No. Ive had a good family life, my golf course design started when I was 28. I had a blast and I wouldve been bored to tears if golf was the only thing I did. Its been great for me since Tigers come on the scene because every time Tigers name is mentioned my names mentioned right alongside him. Its kept me alive in the game of golf.
Rich: You won 18 majors and finished runner up 19 times. Which one stung the most?
Jack: The ones that sting the most are the ones that you give away. I bogeyed the last two holes at Lytham in 1963 but I learned from that. At the Masters in 1977 Watson made a long putt at 17 to go one shot ahead and I was over my ball at 18 and it was the only time in my life I couldnt regroup. The pin was front left. I had 6-iron in my hand. My plan was to put it by the hole, let it take the slope and settle about 15 feet and give myself a chance at birdie. But when Watson birdied I tried to stuff it into the hole. I ended up hitting it fat into the bunker and made bogey. So I gave that one away and I didnt like that. At Turnberry in77 I played great. I happened to miss a 6-footer at 17 but so what. Youre going to miss a putt somewhere along the way. In 82 at Pebble Beach Jack Whitaker was congratulating me on winning my fifth Open when all of the sudden this roar goes up as Watson holed this impossible shot. So I dont have any regrets when I play well. Its like when I beat Miller and Weiskopf in 75 at Augusta it wouldnt have made any difference whether I won or lost because it was fun. It was fun to play Watson at Turnberry in 77 and Trevino at Muirfield in 72 even though I lost.
Rich: What were the principles your father, Charlie, instilled in you?
Jack: My dad instilled sportsmanship. He felt golf was a game and that you played it fairly, to win, and with respect and consideration for your opponent. My dad introduced me to all sports. I loved them all. If my dad hadnt broken his ankle and had three operations on it I probably never wouldve played golf. My dad was the city tennis champion. But after his ankle problems the doctor recommended he walk to strengthen the ankle and that lead him to golf. I used to tag along and I grew to love the individual aspect of golf.
Rich: What needs to change within the Ryder Cup culture to restore American glory?
Jack: After The Presidents Cup last year I spent over an hour on the phone with Paul. The first thing I said was why all the assistant captains. He said I want to help guys learn from them. I told him he has accomplished players, otherwise they wouldnt be on the team. I dont think they need anybody helping them. Leave them alone and let them play. Whether my philosophy was right or wrong I got a lot out of my guys. In 98 at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne they didnt want to play. They didnt want to be there. They all came back and said Jack we owe you one. We didnt give you a full effort. So the next time I was captain was 2002 and I said Im going to take the 12 guys to South Africa that want to play. If you dont want to play just say so. Obviously nobody stayed home and they bonded as a team and they were terrific. So I told Paul that I let them do what they wanted to do. I let them make their own pairings up to a degree---who do they want to play with, who dont they want to play with. I tried to stay in the background and I think it worked very well. I think Paul will do fine. He said I think Ill keep the assistants for me, to give me advice.
Rich: Is the pressure too great at the Ryder Cup?
Jack: Youre going to tell me that the pressure on Tiger at the Ryder Cup is greater than what he faces at the U.S. Open? This is supposed to be a fun week and a week of good will. Who wins is for bragging rights. By the time you guys in the media get through with it then theres a lot of pressure. I think the pressure is ridiculous. There is no pressure. Too much is made of it. Just go play.
Rich: What keeps your competitive juices flowing?
Jack: Golf course design. I mean I cant play anymore.
Rich: Come on, I heard you shot your age the other day.
Jack: Well about a month ago. I shot my age twice, once when I was 64 and now at 68. And I didnt play 15 times in between. Can I still play? I can shoot a decent round if I have to but I can also play some bad rounds. But my golf course design will live long beyond my golf game and my lifetime. And one of the things Im doing thats interesting is Im working on courses in 29 new countries. That makes 55 countries Ive worked in and Russias the best example. I never dreamed of doing golf courses in Russia. Were consulting for the mayor of Moscow on 15 golf public facilities. He wants to do in golf what theyve done in tennis. 15 years from now he wants a bunch of players from Russia who can play. And theyll do it. So whats exciting is that were taking the game of golf into a country thats never really played it and well be able to shape the future of the sport in that country. Were doing the same thing through Poland and Bulgaria and Romania and Czech Republic and Greece and Turkey.
Rich: That has to amaze you considering that Russia was not long ago an arch enemy.
Jack: I turned down the first golf course in Russia for exactly that reason some 20 years ago.
Rich: Could you see golf someday in Iraq or Afghanistan?
Jack: Absolutely. Maybe not in my lifetime, but itll happen.
Rich: You have 21 grandkids. Are you hopeful for the world theyll inherit?
Jack: Well the world is shrinking. Its very complicated. It used to be so far away that we didnt worry about it. Everything is so close now. The computer age has changed everything dramatically. Im a total dinosaur when it comes to the computer age.
Rich: Do you e-mail?
Jack: No I dont do any of that! I worry about my guys that work for me. Scott Tolley and I were on a recent trip around the world and were out of touch for four days. When we came back he had 344 e-mails to return. I mean how do you do that? You spend your life punching buttons. Thats why I refuse to do that. So what are my grandkids going to face? I dont know. Obviously wed love to have peace in the world. But theres never been peace. I dont know.
Rich: Why arent more people in this country playing golf?
Jack: The biggest problem is takes too long to play golf. If you play fast today its a four-hour round. Equipment has translated to longer golf courses and longer rounds. Should we make it a 12-hole round? Most other sports are two to three hour games. If you could leave the house at eight in the morning, kiss your wife goodbye and say Ill see you at noon, well have lunch and spend the afternoon with the kids, wives wouldnt object to that. Whats happening with young adults today is they have kids in organized sports from the earliest age with the dads and moms participating on Saturdays and Sundays where they used to play golf. We need to do something to get it to be a two- to three-hour game. If we do that I think well bring a lot of people into the game.
Rich: How many holes-in-one do you have?
Jack: 20. Its funny I remember playing The Tradition with Arnie and Gary and Gary made an ace on No. 7. I said, Gary how many do you have now? And he said, 18. I said thats how many I have. Then I asked Arnold how many hed made and he said 18. All three of us had 18. I thought that was an interesting bit of trivia at that time!
Rich: Hows your health? You look well.
Jack: Im doing all right. Ive gained some weight which Im not happy about. Traveling makes it difficult. You know I had great discipline when I played golf. Im afraid Im a little more relaxed today.
Rich: You still have that weakness for ice cream?
Jack: I have a weakness for a lot of things!
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    Golf Channel, Loch Lomond Partner on Claret Jug Tour Ahead of 147TH Open

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 18, 2018, 9:35 pm

    Award-Winning Independent Scotcb Whisky Sponsoring Tour to Select U.S. Cities; Will Include Special Tastings and Opportunities for Fans to Engage with Golf’s Most Storied Trophy

    Golf Channel and Loch Lomond Group are partnering on a promotional tour with the Claret Jug – golf’s most iconic trophy, first awarded in 1873 to the winner of The Open – to select U.S. cities in advance of the 147TH Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland. Loch Lomond Whisky’s sponsorship of the tour further enhances the brand’s existing five-year partnership with the R&A as the official spirit of The Open, initially announced in February.

    “We are proud to partner with Golf Channel to support this tour of golf’s most iconic trophy,” said Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group. “Whisky and golf are two of Scotland’s greatest gifts to the world, and following the news of our recent partnership with the R&A for The Open, being a part of the Claret Jug tour was a perfect fit for Loch Lomond Group to further showcase our commitment to the game.”

    “The Loch Lomond Group could not be a more natural fit to sponsor the Claret Jug tour,” said Tom Knapp, senior vice president of golf sponsorship, NBC Sports Group. “Much like the storied history that accompanies the Claret Jug, Loch Lomond’s Scottish roots trace back centuries ago, and their aspirations to align with golf’s most celebrated traditions will resonate with a broad range of consumers in addition to golf fans and whisky enthusiasts.”

    The tour kicks off today in Austin, Texas, and will culminate on Wednesday, July 11 at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe one week prior to The Open. Those wishing to engage with the Claret Jug will have an opportunity at one of several tour stops being staged at Topgolf locations in select cities. The tour will feature a custom, authentic Scottish pub where consumers (of age) can sample Loch Lomond’s portfolio of whiskies in the spirit of golf’s original championship and the Claret Jug. The Claret Jug also will make special pop-up visits to select GolfNow course partners located within some of the designated tour markets.

    (All Times Local)

    Monday, June 18                    Austin, Texas              (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m.)

    Tuesday, June 19                    Houston                      (Topgolf, 5-8 p.m.)

    Wednesday, June 20               Jacksonville, Fla.        (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

    Monday, June 25                    Orlando, Fla.               (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

    Wednesday, July 4                 Washington D.C.        (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m. – Ashburn, Va.)

    Monday, July 9                       Edison, N.J.                (Topgolf, Time TBA)

    Wednesday, July 11               Lake Tahoe, Nev.       American Century Championship (On Course)

    Fans interacting with the Claret Jug and Loch Lomond during the course of the tour are encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag, #ClaretJug on social media, and tag @TheOpen and @LochLomondMalts on Twitter and Instagram.

    NBC Sports Group is the exclusive U.S. television home of the 147TH Open from Carnoustie, with nearly 50 live hours of tournament coverage, Thursday-Sunday, July 19-22. The Claret Jug is presented each July to the winner of The Open, with the winner also being given the title of “Champion Golfer of the Year” until the following year’s event is staged. The Claret Jug is one of the most storied trophies in all of sports; first presented to the 1873 winner of The Open, Tom Kidd. Each year, the winner’s name is engraved on to the trophy, forever etched into the history of golf’s original championship. It is customary for the Champion Golfer of the Year to drink a favorite alcoholic beverage from the Claret Jug in celebration of the victory.

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    USGA-player relationship at a breaking point?

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 8:00 pm

    SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – For seven days each year, the American game’s preeminent governing body welcomes the best players in the world with open arms. They set up shop at one of the premier courses in the country, and line it with grandstands and white hospitality tents as far as the eye can see.

    The players arrive, first at a slow trickle and then at a steady pace. And once they’ve registered and clipped their player medallions over their belts, they’re told how this year is going to be different.

    How this time around, be it in a Washington gravel pit or on a time-tested piece of land on the tip of Long Island, the USGA will not repeat the mistakes of the past. That the process of identifying the best players in the world will not veer into the territory of embarrassing them.

    Like a college sweetheart in search of reconciliation, the powers-that-be preach a changed attitude and a more even-handed approach. Then, inevitably, they commit the same cardinal sins they promised to avoid.

    So year in and year out, the scar tissue builds. Charlie Brown keeps trying to kick the football and, for most of the players not named Brooks Koepka, he ends up on his butt in a cloud of dust and fescue.

    After letting Shinnecock Hills plunge into avoidable yet all-too-familiar territory over the weekend – before being doused back to life – one thing is clear: in the eyes of many players, the USGA can’t be trusted.

    “When are they going to get it right? I just feel like they disrespect these historic golf courses,” said Scott Piercy, a runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open who got swept away this week during a crispy third round en route to a T-45 finish. “I think they disrespect the players, I think they disrespect the game of golf. And they’re supposed to be, like, the top body in the game of golf. And they disrespect it, every aspect of it.”

    Piercy, like several players in this week’s field, had a few specific gripes about how Shinnecock was set up, especially during the third round when USGA CEO Mike Davis admitted his organization lost control in a display that echoed the mistakes of 2004. But this was not an isolated case.

    Players went with skepticism to Chambers Bay three years ago, only to encounter greens that were largely dirt and got compared to produce. Mismatched grass strains, they were told. Whoops.

    The next year the USGA threw a dark cloud over a classic venue by allowing much of the final round at Oakmont to play without knowing the leader’s actual score as a rules fiasco reached a furious boil. Last year’s Erin Hills experiment was met with malaise.

    At this point, the schism runs much deeper than a single error in setup. It threatens the core competency of the organization in the eyes of several of the players it looks to serve.

    “They do what they want, and they don’t do it very well. As far as I’m concerned, there is no relationship (between players and the USGA),” said Marc Leishman. “They try and do it. They do it on purpose. They say they want to test us mentally, and they do that by doing dumb stuff.”

    By and large, players who took issue with the USGA’s tactics had a simple solution: put more of the setup choices in the hands of those who oversee PGA Tour and European Tour venues on a regular basis. While some of those personnel already moonlight in USGA sweater-vests for the week, there is a strong sentiment that their collective knowledge could be more heavily relied upon.

    “I know (the USGA) takes great pride in doing all this stuff they do to these golf courses, but they see it once a year,” Brandt Snedeker said. “Let those guys say, ‘Hey, we see this every week. We know what the edge is. We know where it is.’ We can’t be out there playing silly golf.”

    That’s not to say that a major should masquerade as the Travelers Championship. But the U.S. Open is the only one of the four that struggles to keep setup shortfalls from becoming a dominant storyline.

    It all adds up to a largely adversarial relationship, one that continues to fray after this weekend’s dramatics and which isn’t helped by the USGA’s insistence that they should rarely shoulder the blame.

    “They’re not going to listen, for one. Mike Davis thinks he’s got all the answers, that’s No. 2,” said Pat Perez after a T-36 finish. “And when he is wrong, there’s no apologies. It’s just, ‘Yeah, you know, we kind of let it get out of hand.’ Well, no kidding. Look at the scores. That’s the problem. It’s so preventable. You don’t have to let it get to that point.”

    But this wound festers from more than just slick greens and thick rough. There is a perception among some players that the USGA gets overly zealous in crafting complicated rules with complex decisions, a collection of amateur golfers doling out the fine print that lords over the professional game on a weekly basis – with the curious handling of whatever Phil Mickelson did on the 13th green Saturday serving as just the latest example.

    The gripes over setup each year at the USGA’s biggest event, when it’s perceived that same group swoops in to take the reins for a single week before heading for the hills, simply serve as icing on the cake. And there was plenty of icing this week after players were implored to trust that the miscues of 2004 would not be repeated.

    “To say that the players and the USGA have had a close relationship would be a false statement,” Snedeker said. “They keep saying all the right things, and they’re trying to do all the right things, I think. But it’s just not coming through when it matters.”

    It’s worth noting that the USGA has made efforts recently to ramp up its communication with the top pros. Officials from the organization have regularly attended the Tour’s player meetings in recent months, and Snedeker believes that some strides have been made.

    So, too, does Zach Johnson, who was one of the first to come out after the third round and declare that the USGA had once again lost the golf course.

    “I think they’ve really started to over the last few years, last couple years in particular, tried to increase veins of communication,” Johnson said. “When you’re talking about a week that is held in the highest regards, I’m assuming within the organization and certainly within my peer group as one of the four majors and my nation’s major, communication is paramount.”

    But the exact size of the credibility gap the USGA has to bridge with some top pros remains unclear. It’s likely not a sting that one good week of tournament setup can assuage, even going to one of the more straightforward options in the rotation next year at Pebble Beach.

    After all, Snedeker was quick to recall that players struggled mightily to hit the par-3 17th green back in 2010, with eventual champ Graeme McDowell calling the hole “borderline unfair” ahead of the third round.

    “It’s one of the greatest holes in world golf, but I don’t really know how I can hit the back left portion of the green,” McDowell said at the time. “It’s nearly impossible.”

    Surely this time next year, Davis will explain how the USGA has expanded its arsenal in the last decade, and that subsequent changes to the 17th green structure will make it more playable. His organization will then push the course to the brink, like a climber who insists on scaling Mount Everest without oxygen, and they’ll tell 156 players that this time, finally, the desired balance between difficult and fair has been achieved.

    Whether they’ll be believed remains to be seen.

    @bubbawatson on Instagram

    Bubba gets inked by Brooks, meets Tebow

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

    Bubba Watson missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills following rounds of 77-74, but that didn't stop him from enjoying his weekend.

    Watson played alongside Jason Day and eventual champion Brooks Koepka in Rounds 1 and 2, and somehow this body ink slipped by us on Thursday.

    Got autographed by defending @usopengolf Champ @bkoepka!! #NeverShoweringAgain

    A post shared by Bubba Watson (@bubbawatson) on

    And while we're sure Bubba would have rather been in contention over the weekend, we're also sure that taking your son to meet the second most famous minor-league baseball player who ever lived was a lot more fun than getting your teeth kicked in by Shinnecock Hills over the weekend, as just about everyone not named Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood did.

    Already in Hartford, Watson will be going for his third Travelers Championship trophy this week, following wins in 2010 and 2015.

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    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).